Sunday, July 26, 2009

U2 Croke Park, Dublin - July 25th, 2009

Yesterday I saw U2 for the 4th time, but it had been a while since the last time in Slane in 2001. U2 have been known for a while as the masters of Stadium Rock but in recent years they seemed to have lost some of that spark that made them so popular in the late 80's and early 90's. And certainly "No Line on the Horizon" hasn't helped much to improve that image. But was I in for an amazing show!

The concert started promptly at 6:30 with a short set from Republic of Loose who to me where a bit disappointing. In all fairness, the place was less than half full. I things in the pitch may have been a bit better for them. They finish their set with their most well known song Comeback Girl.

They were followed by a slightly longer set from Kaiser Chiefs, who rocked the place. They were fantastic! Highlights for me where Ruby and Oh My God. Ricky Wilson said at some stage that his job was to get us moving, and he did it very well. I hope they regain the momentum from their previous albums. I would like to see them headline one of the summer festivals soon.

Finally at 8:50 U2 came out and started with 4 new tracks, which worked much better on a live setting than on the album. From the new songs I really liked Magnificent, Get on Your Boots and I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight. Despite the fact that they played many new songs, they brushed up a few classic tracks, and although I missed I Will Follow and New Year's Day which they had played every time I had seen them, they played Angel of Harlem, In a Little While and The Unforgettable Fire, which I had never heard live.

The first time I saw them in Mexico City for the Zoo TV Tour, I remember an interview with Bono who said that he had heard that Mexican crowds where the only ones that were as loud as the Irish. I think he was wrong and Ireland is still the best place to see U2. One of the highlights of the night yesterday was when they started I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, Bono stopped singing and the crowd took over until the end of the first Chorus. It was something incredible.

The setlist changed significantly from Friday to Saturday to make it worthwhile to go to all the gigs. Now I am thinking if I should get tickets for Monday.

Here is the full setlist thanks to swearimnotpaul:

No Line on the Horizon
Get on Your Boots
Beautiful Day
Mysterious Ways
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
Angel of Harlem
In A Little While
Unknown Caller
The Unforgettable Fire
City of Blinding Lights
I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Pride (In The Name of Love)
Walk On
Where the Streets Have No Name
Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
With or Without You
Moment of Surrender

By the way, can anybody tell me if Adam Clayton's hollowbody bass is a Jack Casady, a Rivoli or an EB2?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bruce Spingsteen Live in Dublin - RDS, July 12th 2009 - Review and Setlist

About 20 years ago, a friend told me to make sure that if I ever had the opportunity to see Bruce Springsteen, that I should take it as it would probably be one of the best concerts I would ever go to. He did this while bragging over the fact that he had been on the concert in LA that ended up
as most of the last album in the Live 1975 - 1985 retrospective. It took a long time but finally yesterday I was able to see The Boss play live in the RDS Stadium in Dublin.

I wasn't disappointed!

We got to the stadium at around 7:00 PM, the concert was scheduled to start at 7:30, but it didn't start until just after 8:00 and in typical Irish fashion after a short shower, but even the rain couldn't dampen the excitement from the crowd. Thankfully that was the last of the rain we saw for the evening, in contrast with the Saturday gig where it poured over Dublin for most of it.

The stage was quite plain. And as for gigs this size (I read somewhere that it was 40,000 people, can anybody confirm it?) it was lacking a lot of flair. It had two screens on either side, and a big screen behind the stage which would come on and off from time to time. Lights were fairly basic and most off them were to illuminate the crowd. A couple of times during the show they even turned on the floodlights! The show is obviously about the music, and no better man than Bruce himself to carry the show for the 3+ hours that the show lasted.

Springsteen is well known for his changeable setlists, where he throws surprises and takes on requests from the crowd. The full setlist is below, but let me give you some of my highlights and lowlights first. I was bitterly disappointed that he didn't play The River, he had been playing it
for the last few shows so I had high hopes. The River is up there with Billy Joel's Scenes from an Italian Restaurant as one of my favourite story songs. I have seen Billy Joel play that song live a couple of times, and I was really hoping to hear my other favourite, but it didn't happen. He
played other great tunes, including No Surrender, Darkness on the Edge of Town (which he has played only a handful of times during this tour), Jungleland, 41 Shots (which according to Stand Goldstein is the first time he plays it since 2003!) and Born to Run.

The show started with Nil's accordion solo which morphed into the Irish song Fields of Athenry and after 3 hours it ended with a bang with Rosalita, Glory Days, Dancing in the Dark and Twist & Shout, where he also had us singing La Bamba for a little while.

You could see the smiles on the faces of the people as they left the stadium. It was a night to remember for a long time.

Full setlist:

Intro: Nils accordion solo - Fields of Athenry
No Surrender
My Lucky Day
Outlaw Pete
Hungry Heart
Working On A Dream
Johnny 99
Darkness On The Edge of Town
Raise your Hand (Instrumental)
Spirit In The Night (Request)
Sherry Darling (Request)
Proud Mary (Request)
Prove It All Night
Waiting On A Sunny Day
Promised Land
Radio Nowhere
American Skin (41 Shots)
Lonesome Day
The Rising
Born To Run

American Land
Glory Days
Dancing In The Dark
Twist & Shout (with a little bit of La Bamba!)

Please let me know if you have a goo picture of the gig that I could use for the post!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Yeats to Music: Mike Scott at the National Library Dublin - June 30th, 2009

So I caved in to the pressure of my adoring fan base who were asking for a review of yesterday's poetry reading. Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you, I said poetry reading. Yesterday was the final event of the summer programme that the National Library of Ireland had dedicated to the work of Irish Poet W.B. Yeats: Yeats to music by Mike Scott.

If you don't know Mike Scott, he is the lead singer, and the main force behind The Waterboys. Check out one of my first posts for a review of the Midlands Festival a couple of years ago where they were on the bill. Mike Scott has already recorded a few songs with Yeats' words, most notably Love and Death (on the album Dream Harder) and A Song of the Rosy-Cross (with Sharon Shannon). Mike is also working on a full stage production of Yeats' songs that will be on stage next March in the Abbey Theatre.

The "gig" was an hour long event where Mike read Yeats' poetry for the first 30 minutes or so, focusing on some more obscure poems, and then he was accompanied on stage by Steve Wickham on the fiddle and John McCullough on keyboard.

For the musical part of the event, they played five or six "musical adaptations" of Yeats' poems. I particularly enjoyed the last two songs as they reminded me more of the Waterboys sound:

  • Politics, which happens to be the last poem on the last poetry compilation... not necessarily the last poem he ever wrote! I hope this song gets released at some stage.
  • Let the Earth Bear Witness which was inspired by the current events in Iran. Mike explained that he took the lyrics from two poems that seemed appropriate for what's going on over there at the moment. And composed the music around them.

WARNING: The video has some very strong and violent images of the events in Iran

I have to say that all in all, it was a very interesting event from the National Library of Ireland well worth attending